Chase Elliott Explains His Road to Recovery and Return to Victory Lane

It had been a protracted six weeks of sitting on the sofa underneath the air conditioner for Chase Elliott earlier than his return to the NOCO 400 at Martinsville Speedway in mid-April. The NASCAR Cup Series hottest driver sustained a damaged left leg throughout a snowboarding accident in early March and had simply been methodically constructing himself again as much as a return.

Many anticipated Elliott to have a tough time on the course with the breaking the course requires and the stress that might place on the repaired leg. However he confirmed no rust, ending tenth after beginning the race within the twenty fourth place. He adopted that up with a 14th place end on the GEICO 500 this previous weekend in Talladega. They’ve been nice momentum builders because the Hendrick Motorsports driver seems to proceed enhancing heading into the summer time months.

Whereas he nonetheless has some work left to do in growing the energy and vary of movement within the leg, Elliott is grateful to be again competing. Lately being added to NASCAR’s 75 Biggest Drivers record, he shared his ideas for getting again on the monitor with M&F.

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Photographs

1. Focus On What You Can Management

I’m a reasonably reasonable individual. I knew I used to be harm earlier than I even received the X-rays. I had a reasonably good feeling I wasn’t racing that weekend. I had never hurt myself or needed to have surgical procedure in my life. It was uncharted territory for me however the way in which I checked out it was that I couldn’t do something about it as soon as it occurred and when you get the truth of what the damage is, how lengthy surgical procedure goes to be, and what the restoration goes to appear to be, I simply actually began listening to the medical doctors and placing in as a lot effort and work in on my finish to verify I stayed on schedule. I feel I’m in all probability just a few weeks out of being fully cell and again to regular because it pertains to flexibility and athletic motion — definitely getting round and building strength back in my leg and knee. It’s in a extremely good place and I’ve been pleased with that. I’m simply working via it.

My precedence was getting again within the automotive and simply getting again to work from that standpoint. It was additionally about getting in place from a mobility and a bone-healing standpoint. I can’t actually do a lot about that half, however I can definitely work exhausting at constructing a few of that muscle again that was dormant for a month or so. However my essential precedence was getting again within the automotive and with the ability to carry out as I really feel l usually would. I used to be in a position to get again within the automotive [in Martinsville] and that was nice. I feel I’ve extra energy to construct again, and my mobility and vary of movement are going to proceed to be labored on.

2. Placing the Leg To The Take a look at

I’d say most common automobiles that individuals drive and use the throttle and the break with their proper foot whereas the left foot doesn’t do an entire lot. For me, driving within the race automotive, I brake with my left foot and I’m utilizing that foot for the break and the clutch. Granted, we don’t use the clutch very a lot — primarily simply to brake — however there may be a number of brake stress like in Martinsville. I knew again when the damage occurred, how the schedule lined up, I’d return someplace round Martinsville or Talladega and the physician wasn’t going to let me go till then. I went to the simulator and simply tried to place myself in these conditions of placing stress on the brakes and going it persistently, repeating lap instances, and repeating that for a protracted time frame. All these issues factored into getting the go-ahead to run final weekend.

3. Bracing for the Summer time

Whereas leg energy is necessary, extra necessary, is the surroundings you race in. From a warmth standpoint, it’s very heat within the automotive and your coronary heart fee could be very excessive particularly when you’re in a compromised place otherwise you’re pushing very exhausting. You continue to don’t have a number of bodily motion and that’s often one thing you don’t see in a number of sports activities or once you’re within the health club. In case your coronary heart fee is up, you often have a number of movement, so it’s a singular factor for us. Being snug in these environments once more was huge as a result of it’s exhausting to coach for that, particularly once you’ve been sitting on the sofa for weeks within the AC. It was good to get again within the swing go issues and get hit within the face. I feel getting again used to that’s enormous as we get into the summer time months.

4. Nonetheless Some Work Left To Do

The bodily remedy side has been constant since I’ve gotten harm. With my damage, the quad has a extremely exhausting time firing. Inside the first couple of weeks, I misplaced a number of muscle mass within the quad as a result of I couldn’t flex it. It’s been a number of quad-strengthening workouts, a number of leg raises, and knee extensions. The second half is getting the mobility and the vary of movement again within the knee — on the bending aspect and the straightening aspect has been exhausting for me. Usually, on a wholesome leg, your knee extends previous zero. You straighten it out and it will get all the way in which to zero and also you get on the detrimental aspect once you’re standing along with your knees locked.

Getting that extension again was a giant piece of the puzzle and I’m nonetheless engaged on getting that full vary again and protecting it free. Quad energy and vary of movement have been the 2 key factors of focus since I’ve gotten out of surgical procedure and that appears to get higher week by week. There have been huge steps being made via weeks 4, 5, and 6 mark. Now, we’re attending to these finer particulars on the backend, simply making an attempt to get that final little bit. Now that I’m at a spot the place I can drive once more, I can preserve engaged on the opposite issues as we go alongside to try to get again to 100% from an athletic standpoint.

5. A Little Help Goes A Lengthy Manner

The followers have been extraordinarily supportive of me via this era and I’m grateful for his or her help as we proceed to work via it. With my friends and different drivers reaching out, providing their help, and catching up was actually cool as a result of they don’t have to do this. I assumed that claims loads concerning the surroundings we race in and that my rivals have sufficient respect to say one thing has been very significant. To my group on the No. 9 group to my teammates at Hendrick Motorsports on the store and the monitor, it’s been a number of nice help, and individuals are genuinely joyful to have me again. It actually meant loads.

You may tune in to FS1 at 2 p.m. ET this Sunday, Apr. 30 to see Chase compete on the NASCAR Cup Collection “Würth 400” from Dover Motor Speedway.

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